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Pregame: Locke skips start for Indianapolis, Pirates 'working through' immediate rotation plans

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Locke skips start, Searage declines to comment on Cole

Jeff Locke skipped his scheduled start for Indianapolis last night. This afternoon Clint Hurdle said that the team is "working through" immediate plans for the starting rotation.

"Might be, might not be, I have to talk to the principals involved," Hurdle said when asked if there were any expected changes to the starting rotation.

When further asked if there was anything significance to Locke skipping his start, Hurdle responded cryptically, "That would be something to ponder."

One possibility of several at this point is that Locke could take Gerrit Cole's next start. Ray Searage declined to comment this afternoon when asked by reporters about Cole's health and whether he took his scheduled bullpen session today.

UPDATE: (4:16) The Indianapolis Indians have named A.J. Morris as tonight's starter. Vance Worley was the scheduled starter. Worley is, however, schedule for tomorrow per the Indians website.

Tabata starts over Marte, again

For the fourth game in a row, Starling Marte will be held out of the starting lineup. Hurdle said that the reason for starting Tabata over Marte is similar to yesterday, i.e. Tabata's matchup numbers against Garza (7-for-16) and Marte continuing to work on his offensive approach.

In perhaps a veiled reference to the team's assertion that they are delaying promoting Gregory Polanco is so that he can accumulate a lot of at bats against Triple-A pitching, Hurdle went on to remind the press that Starling Marte had a very limited number of at bats in Triple-A (431 plate appearances).

"It's a point in fact, that he had a smaller number of at bats at the Triple-A level that nobody wants to talk about, or very rarely," Hurdle said.

Finally, Hurdle described Marte as a little freaked out about his recent struggles.

"He has not struggled like this before, anywhere, and it freaks him out a little," Hurdle said."I said [to him], 'you know what? Join the club, because it happens to everybody. Brooks Robinson, Al Kaline.' He didn't know them (laughter). I said, 'I explain them to you later.'"

Triple-A for Marte?

Hurdle said that the idea of sending Marte down to Indianapolis to regroup has "not crossed" his mind.